For many companies, the changes from COVID-19 are permanent

For many companies, the changes from COVID-19 are permanent

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New York (AP) — Vending machines selling herb and seasoning packets outside the pinch spice market are not a sales gimmick — serving customers when the company is suffering from a COVID-19 pandemic Helped to do.

Meaghan Thomas, co-owner of Louisville, Kentucky, and her partner Thomas McGee didn’t expect shoppers to gather in a small factory during the pandemic. But people were cooking more at home and wanted to help local businesses. Appears when the owner, who is the only employee, is trying to process an online order. I had little or no time to take care of my direct customers.

“The vending machines gave them a way to shop contactlessly, which also attracted new customers who happened to be walking by our factory,” says Thomas.

This is a permanent addition.

“We definitely keep it. In fact, we are considering building more machines to install in more places,” says Thomas.

Pandemics have changed the way many small businesses operate. Common to many industries is the move to telecommuting and hybrid scheduling. And now, online ordering and curbside pickups are standard in restaurants and retail stores.

Many owners have also made very individual adaptations that not only make sense, but may have permanently changed the way they do business and make money. Some owners who have undergone dramatic changes now find it much happier to run a company.

When Ashley Gria started her flower design business four years ago, she didn’t want a retail store. That’s why Atelier Ashley Flowers created arrangements just for weddings and other events.

In Alexandria, Glia, Virginia, the business had a complete calendar when COVID-19 occurred — and all events on it were cancelled. Greer comforted herself by designing the arrangement and posting it on Instagram. Instagram has 4,000 local followers.

“Slowly, the neighbors around me said,” Hey, do you think you can make me a flower arrangement and make it every week? “Glia says. She believes they wanted to support her and were trying to brighten their days.

This arrangement brought money to Greer, who lived on savings. Then she received a surprising number of orders on Mother’s Day. Her retail business got off to a good start and Glia felt more rewarding. Her new clients were sometimes more demanding and often enjoyable to work with, compared to the lesser-rated wedding clients.

“Obtaining one flower arrangement makes people very happy. One in ten brides send a thank-you note. When I pour my heart and soul into them, it’s much more transactional. I feel that, “she says.

Greer rebooked the canceled wedding, and may do more in the future. But she is thriving on individual arrangements, saying, “I have no plans to return to the event alone.”

Employers expect to coordinate the company and how it operates. Also, in the event of an unusual event, such as the Great Recession, many companies need to explore new markets, scale down, and change product and service combinations. However, the pandemic was a situation no one had ever experienced. It naturally forced changes in the companies and industries that worked.

Prior to COVID-19, psychotherapist and business coach Jonathan Alpert did almost all the work in his Manhattan office. The pandemic restricted him to phone and video. However, despite the fact that therapy has traditionally been done directly, many clients are not interested in returning to his office for a direct session.

“What started out as a true necessity is now a highly desirable option for people,” says Alpert. “It’s convenient. You don’t have to commute for 10, 20, or 30 minutes each way.”

Remote sessions also increase Alpert’s flexibility. He found that the dynamics of remote sessions were less intense than one-on-one in the office and less tiring by the end of the day.

“It allows me to meet more people,” he says. It increased his income.

Eighty percent of Greenbar Distillery’s revenue comes from pre-pandemic bar and restaurant sales, and the rest comes from liquor stores. “It was like someone turning off the lamp,” says co-founder Melkon Khosrovian, when state and local governments restricted or closed their indoor meals.

Three months after the pandemic, the prospect of returning to normal diminished, and Khosrovian and his wife, Litty Matthew, a business partner, decided to sell the product directly to consumers. Store. As Americans drink more at home, COVID-19 has radically changed their lifestyle, and the couple decided to bet that their ideas would be more appealing.

Creating a manufacturing operation can take several months. A Los Angeles company received a $ 2 million Small and Medium Business loan to finance equipment in September and by February will be producing canned cocktails for sale at Whole Foods and other grocery stores. I did.

“Supermarkets have the most freedom to serve the general public and stay open,” says Khosrovian.

The company’s restaurant and bar business has recovered again in the last two months. However, Khosrovian believes that in the long run, the canned cocktail business will grow to account for 80% of Greenbar’s revenue.

The pandemic forced owner Mel Stutzman to close the Countryside Amish Furniture showroom. After all, it benefited the manufacturer of Arthur, Illinois.

Stutzman found that the showroom, which attracted many tourists but had few buyers, kept staff away from working with serious shoppers online and by phone. Customers who had questions about Statsman’s custom-made products were closed and took more time to see it.

“We had to decide who we were and where we wanted to go,” says Statsman. He closed the showroom permanently.

The decisions made when Americans invested more in their homes were rewarded. Stutzman’s sales in 2020 increased by 65% ​​compared to 2019, it was able to employ two people and now has eight staff. He is helping customers with questions about wood finishes, fabrics and leather tonight and weekends.

And what if someone wants to visit the showroom?

“We have to take the position of not going to the door,” says Statsman.

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